Joshua Jenkins is the seventh actor to play Christopher John Francis Boone in the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He was the first actor to take the character on tour in the UK and will be the first actor to perform this now iconic role in Australia.
What are you most looking forward to about the Melbourne season of Curious Incident?
Well it’s my first time in Australia so I’m excited to see a bit of the country and do some touristy things. I’m also looking forward to the lovely weather which is somewhat of a rarity in the UK. I’ve seen photos of the theatre as well and it looks absolutely beautiful so I’m very much looking forward to playing in that space.
What are the biggest challenges of playing the role of Christopher?
One of the biggest challenges of playing Christopher is the fact you never leave the stage. If things go wrong or not according to plan, you can’t come off and compose yourself, you have to forget about it immediately and move on to the next scene. Then you also have the physical demands of the show which for the whole company are very high, so we all need to maintain our fitness throughout the duration of the job. Having said that, it’s parts like Christopher that [made me want] to become an actor. I feel privileged to have that opportunity and it’s not something I take for granted.
What’s the most rewarding part of performing in this production?
Knowing how important this book and play is to so many people across the world. The response we receive from audience members after the show is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. People can see aspects of their own lives in Curious Incident so it goes beyond being just a play and people have an immediate emotional response to the show.
Do you have any rituals or habits before you go on stage each night?
I do a 40-minute vocal and physical warm up before every show and then I just listen to music very loudly to get pumped up. Bands like The Jam or The Super Furry Animals are a personal favourite at the moment.
What do you think the biggest message or lesson is in Curious Incident?
There are so many! I think how problems can be an opportunity to learn and grow, and how you can turn weakness into strength is one of the biggest messages in the story. But also how acceptance of others can help you find self-acceptance as well. It’s an incredibly layered story and I’m sure everyone will take something different out of it.
You’ll be here for Australian summer. How do you plan on spending your time in Melbourne when not performing?
At the beach trying not to get sunburnt, I expect. Or maybe taking day excursions to explore the outdoors. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has been to Melbourne before has told me that it’s a wonderful city and that I’m going to love my time there, so I can’t wait to get out there now and share the show with everyone!
Joshua Jenkins appears in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, playing until 25 February 2018 at Arts Centre Melbourne